Little makes sense in Struan Stevenson’s piece today. He writes:
‘Barnier has already caused controversy by telling the UK that if they want a free trade agreement with the EU they will have to allow “continued, reciprocal access to markets and to waters with stable quota shares.’
and then, laughably insists:
[T}he EU’s reliance on access to our waters and their dependence on UK seafood exports puts them in a vulnerable position which Britain should exploit in trade negotiations. Scottish fishermen claim the Europeans are entering negotiations from a position of weakness and their tough talking is simply bluff and bluster.
So, the EU wants the same access or better to UK waters that they had before and insist that the UK will only get a free trade deal with access to EU markets for financial services, if it agrees? How this puts the EU in a position of weakness is unclear. I don’t know if Stevenson goes on to present these two facts:
- Fishing is worth £1.4 billion or 0.1% of the UK economy.
- Financial services is worth £119 billion or 6.5% of the UK economy.
Add to this stark economic reality the fact that much of the fishing is in Scottish waters and most of the financial activity is in London and the notion that the former will not be sacrificed for the latter and one’s head requires screwing on more firmly.